Lee Harold Greif

My family immigrated to this country from Western Europe in the 1850’s. Once settled, my grandparents helped many Jewish immigrants resettle in New York City in the late 19th century. This tradition has continued through today. This generation has helped support the resettlement of Russian Jewish immigrants in Kansas City in the late 20th century and been active participants in building our Jewish community in Kansas City.

My children are now 5th generation Americans. Through the generations, our family has rejoiced in the celebration of our Judaism. The principle of tikkun olam, the practice of tzedakah and a life-style of intellectual curiosity, study, action and involvement have reverberated throughout.

We are so proud of our Judaism because we know that Judaism is not just a way of staying on God’s good side by blindly obeying some rules. It is a way of life. It is a tradition that calls on you to make your life matter through good works—to work to make the world a better place—to honor the life and free will that God has given you to make a difference.

My wish for future generations is that they will honor our traditions and way of life by caring, by questioning, by learning, by acting and by living an ethical life by God’s commandments. We are mindful that as God’s chosen people we have a special obligation to share the gifts of life with others in order to live up to our covenant to make the world a better place. In so doing we will be doing God’s works and that makes holy our ordinary everyday acts.